Colts Reportedly Will Be ‘Very Involved’ on Pernell McPhee
According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the Indianapolis Colts are expected to be heavily involved on Baltimore Ravens pass rusher Pernell McPhee, who is set to become a free agent. Earlier we discussed whether the Colts should actually pursue Pernell McPhee, but it looks as though they plan on it per La Canfora:
"“Ravens defensive lineman Pernell McPhee, a rotational guy in Baltimore who rarely started, is going to hit it big. I expect he can reach $10M a year — the Colts will likely be very involved — and will top a class of pass rushers that has some questions,” La Canfora writes."
It’s an interesting discussion because McPhee is expected to command at least $8-10 million annually, as one of the premier young pass rushers on the open market. At age 26, the former 5th round pick of the Baltimore Ravens out of Mississippi State has been one of the best per snap pass rushers in the NFL in his 4-year NFL career. Last season, he recorded 7.5 sacks and 27 tackles, while appearing in all 16 regular season games for the Ravens.
Oct 6, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee (90) reacts after sacking Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (not pictured) during the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), his pass rushing grade of +23.1 effectively placed him as the 3rd best pass rusher among 3-4 outside linebackers behind only the NFL’s sack leader in the Kansas City Chiefs Justin Houston (22.0 sacks) and fellow Ravens teammate and All-Pro pass rusher Elvis Dumervil (17.0 sacks)
However, on a star-studded Baltimore Ravens defense, he’s never been a full-time starter with only 6 career starts in 4 seasons. In fact, McPhee has been mostly utilized as a part-time pass rusher, playing in roughly half of the Ravens defense’s snaps per game. He does offer tremendous versatility though, with his ability to pass rush from the nose tackle, defensive end, and linebacker position at a listed 6’3″, 280 pounds.
As mentioned, he would join a recent pipeline of notable former Baltimore Ravens defensive players including Cory Redding and Arthur Jones, who have reunited with their former Ravens defensive coordinator, now turned Indianapolis Colts head coach in Chuck Pagano.
Yet, seeking $8-10 million per year, McPhee is going to be paid as much as some of the best pass rushers in the league. It’s a bit of a risk considering that McPhee has never been a full-time starter. That’s a lot of coin to be paying to a situational pass rusher all things considered if that’s in fact, McPhee’s ceiling. Any team investing that much money will likely believe he can be something much more.
While the Colts will be getting All-Pro Robert Mathis back as a pass rusher, who’s one season removed from a 19.5 sack season, he’s set to turn 34 years old and is coming off a season-ending torn achilles injury, as well as some lingering PED questions following a 4-game suspension. The Colts essentially also have emerging young pass rusher Jonathan Newsome and little else in their pass rushing department.
From that standpoint, McPhee does make quite a deal of sense. However, as noted, it’s still a significant risk at $8-10 million to be paid to a young pass rusher, who hasn’t been a full-time player up to this point in comparison to the NFL’s other elite pass rushers: